Because of the Lord’s covenant and the ancestral laws, the Saints of God persevered in loving brotherhood, for there was always one spirit in them, and one faith.
We celebrate great feast days of Church unity this week.
The above is the entrance antiphon for Thursday’s Feast of Saint Josephat, Bishop and Martyr, and great patron of all attempts at the unity of the East and the West in Christendom. And it describes well what is at the heart of true ecclesial unity: persevering in loving brotherhood.
Monday the 9th, the Feast of the Dedication of Saint John Lateran Cathedral, celebrates the mother church of all the world, under the special care of the Bishop of Rome, Pope Francis, who is the world’s pastor.
Tuesday the 10th is the celebration of the Feast of Pope Saint Leo the Great, whose very humble yet also bold occupation of the Chair of Peter in the 5th Century pushed the understanding of the unifying role of the papal office to new heights and depths.
Wednesday the 11th is the Feast of the Saint Martin of Tours, yet another bishop, and in his case one who became famous not so much for how he died as one of our earliest non-martyr Saints, but more so for how he lived, putting charity and the needs of his flock above everything else.
So many great Saints and Feasts right in a row, with so many common themes. There is much to celebrate.
Indeed, the unity of the Church is a tremendous gift from the Lord, and it is also one that is born of continual sacrificial love on the part of her leaders as well as all of the lay faithful.
Let us pray for our shepherds, and let us pray for each other, as we continue to persevere in loving brotherhood, so that the Lord’s flock may always be united in one truth and in one faith.
Father Reesman is making his annual retreat this week, away from electronic contact. This post was written and scheduled earlier in the week.